United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
DARLA J. BOCK, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
J. Dinsmore, United States Magistrate Judge.
J. Bock (“Bock”) requests judicial review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Commissioner”) denying her
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act (“the Act”). See 42 U.S.C. §§
416(i), 423(d), 1382c(a)(3)(A). For the reasons set forth
below, the Commissioner's decision is REVERSED
filed an application for DIB on April 19, 2013, alleging an
onset of disability date of December 10, 2012. [Dkt.
10-2 at 14.] Bock alleges disability due to
osteoarthritis and allied disorders, spine disorders,
affective disorders, and fibromyalgia. [Dkt. 10-2 at
16.] Bock's application was initially denied on June 19,
2013, and denied again on August 20, 2013, upon
reconsideration. [Dkt. 10-2 at 14.] Bock timely filed a
written request for a hearing, which was held on May 20,
2015, before Administrative Law Judge Kimberly Sorg-Graves.
(“ALJ”). Id. The ALJ issued a decision
on July 20, 2015, again denying Bock's applications for
SSI. [Dkt. 10-2 at 11.] On October 7, 2016, the Appeals
Council denied Bock's request for review, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision for purposes of
judicial review. [Dkt. 10-2 at 1.] Bock timely filed her
Complaint with this Court on December 9, 2016, which
Complaint is now before the Court.
eligible for DIB or SSI, a claimant must have a disability
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423. Disability is
defined as the “inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result
in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 42
U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
determine whether a claimant is disabled, the Commissioner,
as represented by the ALJ, employs a five-step sequential
analysis: (1) if the claimant is engaged in substantial
gainful activity, she is not disabled; (2) if the claimant
does not have a “severe” impairment, one that
significantly limits his ability to perform basic work
activities, she is not disabled; (3) if the claimant's
impairment or combination of impairments meets or medically
equals any impairment appearing in the Listing of
Impairments, 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpart P, App. 1, the
claimant is disabled; (4) if the claimant is not found to be
disabled at step three and she is able to perform her past
relevant work, she is not disabled; and (5) if the claimant
is not found to be disabled at step three and cannot perform
her past relevant work but she can perform certain other
available work, she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. Before proceeding from step three to step
four, the ALJ must assess the claimant's residual
functional capacity (RFC), identifying the claimant's
functional limitations and assessing the claimant's
remaining capacity for work-related activities. S.S.R. 96-8p.
ALJ's findings of fact are conclusive and must be upheld
by this Court “so long as substantial evidence supports
them and no error of law occurred.” Dixon v.
Massanari, 270 F.3d 1171, 1176 (7th Cir. 2001).
“Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. This Court may not reweigh
the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ
but may only determine whether substantial evidence supports
the ALJ's conclusion. Overman v. Astrue, 546
F.3d 456, 462 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Schmidt v.
Apfel, 201 F.3d 970, 972 (7th Cir. 2000);
Skinner v. Astrue, 478 F.3d 836, 841 (7th Cir.
2007)). The ALJ “need not evaluate in writing every
piece of testimony and evidence submitted.” Carlson
v. Shalala, 999 F.2d 180, 181 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing
Stephens v. Heckler, 766 F.2d 284, 287 (7th Cir.
1985); Zblewski v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 75, 79 (7th
Cir. 1984)). However, the “ALJ's decision must be
based upon consideration of all the relevant evidence.”
Herron v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 329, 333 (7th Cir. 1994).
To be affirmed, the ALJ must articulate his analysis of the
evidence in his decision; while he “is not required to
address every piece of evidence or testimony, ” he must
“provide some glimpse into his reasoning” and
“build an accurate and logical bridge from the evidence
to [his] conclusion.” Dixon, 270 F.3d at 1176.
The ALJ's Decision
first determined that Bock has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since December 10, 2012, the alleged onset
date. [Dkt. 10-2 at 16.] At step two, the ALJ determined that
Bock “has the following severe impairments:
osteoarthritis and allied disorders; spine disorders; and
affective disorders.” Id. However, at step
three, the ALJ found that Bock does not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or medically equals a
listed impairment. [Dkt. 10-2 at 17.] In making this
determination, the ALJ considered Listings 1.02 (Major
Dysfunction of a Joint), 1.04 (Disorders of the Spine), and
12.04 (Depression). Id.
next analyzed Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”). She concluded that Plaintiff had the RFC
to perform a range of light work except:
[N]o climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally
climbing ramps and stairs; occasionally balancing, stooping,
kneeling, crouching, and crawling; no more than frequent over
the head reaching; no more than occasional bilateral
fingering; able to understand, remember, and carryout (sic)
semiskilled tasks; and no more than occasional superficial
interaction with the general public and superficial
interaction with coworkers and supervisors.
finding these limitations, the ALJ considered Bock's
“symptoms and the extent to which these symptoms can
reasonably be accepted as consistent with the objective
medical evidence and other evidence.” [Dkt. 10-2 at
19.] The ALJ then acknowledged that the evidence presented
could reasonably show that Bock suffers from the symptoms she
alleges, but the ALJ found Bock's statements “not
entirely credible.” [Dkt. 10-2 at 20.] At step four,
the ALJ concluded the Plaintiff is unable to perform any past
relevant work. [Dkt. 10-2 at 24.] The ALJ thus proceeded to
step five, at which time she received testimony from the
vocational expert indicating that someone with
Plaintiff's education, work experience, age, and RFC
would be able to perform unskilled light occupations such as
a ticket taker, shipping and receiving weigher, and baker
helper. Because these jobs existed in significant numbers in
the national economy, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was
not disabled. [Dkt. 10-2 at 26.]